The times that we inhabit are paradoxical. For, it contains positive solutions in the foreground as well as negative impacts in the background on the society. Currently, Saudi Arabia is focused on the betterment of the society in a larger context. New universities, hospital, housing, offices and shopping malls are coming up very fast on the remarkable locations of the country. Various policies are currently running in the kingdom of the development of the society. The bane of the environment, however, is the resident life that is surrounded by electronic gadgets & an overly comfortable environment. Most of the major health problems plaguing the Saudi population today range from psychological distress to heart disease and diabetes. This phenomenon of being unhealthy can be attributed to being sedentary and lazy as well as consumption of a rich diet. There is a pressing need to address the issue of public health through design. In order to do so it is important to realize that the design decisions and planning decisions affecting health are studied. Rates of inactivity have reached very high levels in Saudi putting individuals at risk for obesity and associated health problems. People often depend on the automobile rather that walking and consequently do not exercise themselves. To quote Dr. Aas Mohammad, who has been practicing in Saudi Arabia as a Unani doctor, the people of Saudi are subject to inactivity. Excess energy intake and physical inactivity are the cause of increasing disease in the region. Dr Aas Mohammad is the opinion that till about the time the people don’t balance their food intake with their lifestyle changes.
The published reports on the physical activity profile of Saudi adults indicate that the majority of Saudi people are not physically active enough to achieve health benefits from physical activity. As a result, society is battling obesity, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease. World health organization (WHO) says that physical inactivity is regarded as one of the 10 leading global causes of death and disability. Dramatic changes in lifestyle are the potent slow poison for the social health. The solution of critical problem prevalent in the kingdom exists in investing thoughts in the design of the city, public and commercial buildings, individual houses. The majority of the residents use their own vehicle for transportation. This activity does not require much consumption of energy as a result, people spend most of the time at the offices or home. Therefore, impetus needs to be given to the public transport system.
Further, design can be used to subtly segregate bachelor male and female as well as family as per Islam. As a result, people will be benefitted in both terms active and passive recreation. First, everybody will follow a disciplined life which is more important to be healthy. Unintentionally, the user will spend time walking almost 2 km per day, as doctors suggest. Surprisingly, they will enjoy the environment by coming in contact with unknown people. Being driven/driving does not offer this unique opportunity. Also, research has the profound effects that built environments have on public health. Planning decisions influence neighborhood configuration, housing design, parks, location of stores and schools, as well as factors such as traffic density and air and water quality. These characteristics, in turn, affect physical and psychological health for people of all ages. Planning decisions about factors such as density of communities, presence, and size of parks, land-use mix, height and size of residential structures, location of utility stores, parking lots, and how the roads are laid out affect people’s physical health and psychological well-being. It would therefore not be incorrect to say that all these problems are a consequence of critical planning decisions.
The physical environment is fundamental to our perception of the world. Our surrounding environment is perceived and evaluated through impressions based on our sight, hearing, and touch and further emotionally evaluated by our intellect (Lynch, 1960). Planning decisions that influence the location of supermarkets, fast-food eateries, farmers markets, and convenience stores can profoundly affect people’s diets and their health. People who live in a neighborhood with a supermarket are more likely to eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. Some recommendations that can be given of city planning & urban design for better health of the citizens include planning space for parks and natural areas in residential areas. Building heights must be kept low. Childcare centers, schools, nursing homes, and hospitals should be built in natural settings. New neighborhoods with walk able, intersecting streets should be planned. The relationship between indoor and outdoor environments must be taken into account. Both impacts some health endpoints, like asthma, and the contribution of each is not separable. Designs for healthy buildings should include energy-saving landscaping and should be tailored to deal with the special problems posed by regional climates and local conditions. Healthy indoor environments are easier to achieve when outdoor environmental quality is high, because what comes in from the outside affects the indoors. In addition, people say that they often are stressed. Social environment harbor various positive vibrations which quickly help people to overcome stress. Open spaces and building relationship should allow walking in between major commercial spaces of the city in between beautiful landscape settings. Cycling should be promoted in the residential zone with all safety parameters, market, salon, library, school; community center should be made accessible by walk or cycle. Big vehicles should be utilized for important work where time is less and output demand is more like courier services, hospital van, etc. Most of the time must be utilized for the active and passive recreation. The design of the building is an asset, distance in between parking and entrance of the offices, colleges should be providing as much as possible. Functionality of the building should be designed by an architect in a way that the user walks more and enjoys views, interplay of light, shade and shadow, natural ventilation and holistic environment of the building. Spaces must be more interactive. As a result, daily movement will increase & the health will also improve. More productivity will come out in the work. Creativity and social environment will attain new dimensions. Hence, the above practices will be a boon for the society in all aspects.